How Testicular Cancer Affects Men’s Health
April 18, 2016
There’s no better time to learn about men’s health than during April’s Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in men aged 18-35, and is a serious disease that require serious attention.
In the United States alone, 8,800 men will be diagnosed with Testicular Cancer this year. Men in Northern American and Europe have an increased likelihood of the disease over men in Africa and Asia.
At Austin Urology Institute, we have screenings that will check for presence of a tumor. And just as important, we can teach you how to check for signs on your own body. Regular self-screening of the testicles is a man’s first step to remaining healthy.
While there is no known link between a testicular injury and contraction of testicular cancer, about 1 in every 25 men who get cancer in one testicle can expect it to appear in the other testicle – even after successful treatment of the disease.
Like other forms of cancer, there is no single trigger known to science. But there are known factors that increase risk, which include:
- Born with an undescended testis (at least one testicle didn’t drop into the scrotum)
- Family history (father or brother with testicular cancer)
- Had testicular cancer before
And even though the disease usually develops at a younger age, it can appear at anytime in a man’s life. Here are a few helpful tips for conducting your own self-examination. If you’re worried, you can always set up an exam at Austin Urology Institute today.
Boys can start doing monthly testicular self-exams during their teen years. The best time to examine your testicles is right after a hot bath or shower. The scrotal skin is most relaxed at this time, and the testicles can be felt more easily. The exam should be done while standing and only takes a few minutes.
- Look for swelling in the scrotum
- Gently feel the scrotal sac to find a testicle
- Examine the testicles one at a time by firmly and gently rolling each testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to examine the entire surface
- Note that it is normal for one testicle to be a little bigger than the other. It is also normal to feel a cord-like structure (the epididymis) on the top and back of each testicle.
If you find a lump, swelling or any other changes, get it checked out right away at Austin Urology Institute. If the disease is caught early, survivability is nearly 100%! Treatment will keep you alive and not impact your lifestyle.
Most often, the first treatment is surgery to remove the testicle. For stage 1 patients, this may be all that is needed to remove the cancer. They will then be followed closely with blood tests and scans. Stage 2 and 3 patients may need surgery to remove lymph nodes. They may also need chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or removal of tumors that have spread farther.
Cancer is usually only found in one testicle while the other still functions normally. Removing one testicle won’t impact erections or a man’s ability to father children. Nothing about the procedure makes a man “less of a man.”
So give yourself an examination today to keep your health in good shape. For any worries, questions, or help, Austin Urology Institute is your source for precision medical care.